Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Report: Panthers eventually will be sold
By Pat Yasinskas
Erik Spanberg has a story that is sure to set off some concern in the Carolinas.
Spanberg reports that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has mandated the team be sold within two years of his death. Richardson, 76, appeared to be in good health at a Tuesday news conference to introduce new general manager Dave Gettleman. But Richardson had a heart transplant four years ago.
The news of the mandate is the first time we’ve heard anything about Richardson’s succession plan, which has been the topic of much speculation since he fired sons Jon and Mark as team executives in 2009. Prior to that, it had always been assumed the sons eventually would own the team.
The news of the mandate comes at a time when the Panthers have been in talks with Charlotte leaders about getting funding for renovations to Bank of America Stadium. Government officials have seemed receptive toward financing improvements to a stadium that has been sold out for all but two home games in franchise history.
But the news of Richardson’s mandate adds another wrinkle. As long as Richardson is around and owns the team, I can’t see him allowing the Panthers to leave Charlotte. But all bets could be off if the team is sold.
The best way for local leaders to assure the Panthers stay in Charlotte is to include a deal in the financing that requires Richardson and any other future owner to stay put.